It was chosen for us as part of a local-sponsored cruisetour of Alaska. In all the information we were given ahead of our trip, nothing was mentioned about having a flu shot before going. By the third day on the cruise a bulletin was put out about colds/flu being reported on the ship, and I was already experiencing symptoms. I followed the recommendations and went to the medical clinic, where there were numerous very sick people. My symptoms weren't as serious as those I saw, but my concern was for my husband because he has a compromised immune system. I had no fever and the doctor said I only had a cold and I was right to be concerned about my husband. If you were diagnosed with the flu, you and your companion received Tamiflu and any shore excursions you had paid for were stamped and you would receive a refund. When I asked about my circumstance, the doctor told me I would be fine and go ahead and enjoy my excursions. By the end of the next day I had almost totally lost my voice and remained that way the rest of the trip. A couple days after I got sick, my husband became ill also. When I got home, a week after becoming ill, I went to my doctor. He swabbed me and my husband and we both tested positive for the flu. We then received Xoflueza, a flu medicine which we really needed in the first 48 hours, but he hoped it would help us some. He told us we were highly contagious, the first flu cases reported in our area, and to go home and stay away from everyone. He said they had to sanitize everywhere we had been. That's when we realized that when we walked onto the Golden Princess, we walked into the flu, because there was no way there was time between cruise sailings to disinfect that ship. The morning we left the ship, we were told to be out of our cabins by 8AM, because they had to be ready for the next group of people by 11:30AM. We had to wait in the Wheel House Lounge until departure about 10AM, using the public restrooms, having no idea we had the flu. When we left the ship, we collected our luggage and waited in an area until our bus to Seattle arrived. As we stood there, we watched people checking in for the Golden Princess. It's sad to think that people walk into this situation, completely unsuspecting and it's just the luck of the draw who comes into contact with the flu bug. I imagine whoever got our cabin next had an unpleasant surprise waiting for them. Princess doesn't care; they already had our money and made even more money on the medical charges; they don't accept insurance. I've been home nearly two weeks now and I'm not well yet, which has not only been miserable but has ruined other plans I had when I returned home. I hopes this helps save someone else from a disappointing trip!!
Also, we got very tired of having a camera in our face every thing we did and the pushy sales on the ship. Some of the crew were pleasant, but many were rude and didn't speak very good English. An example: one evening they had sled dog puppies that you could see and pet. Each puppy was on a pillow and tired and sleepy. When you pet the puppy, they had to take your picture petting the puppy. My cousin, as she walked away from petting a puppy, just reached down and patted another puppy on the head. She was immediately told that she wasn't allowed to pet "two" puppies, that she had already petted a puppy. Of course, all these pictures were for sale, $25 a picture.
We mostly dined at the Horizon Court Buffet, because we prefer to dine early and be free to dine as we wish. We were encouraged to dine traditional in the main dining room by the tour group we were with, but that meant dining at 7:15 every night at the same table with the same people and since we wanted more flexibility, we chose anytime dining. I celebrated my 70th birthday on the cruise and we ate at the Crowne Grill. It was very good; the steak was cooked just as we ordered. We especially liked being able to choose a sample plate of the four desserts available. We also ate one day at the pizzeria and once at the burger place; they weren't anything special, but good.
We didn't participate in any ship activities, except the Glacier Bay assembly, which was very interesting and informative. We enjoyed viewing the glaciers and wildlife all day, as we wandered in and out and viewed the glaciers from different places on board the ship.
We enjoyed all of our shore excursions, despite being ill most of that time. In Skagway we rode a bus throughout the town to the White Horse summit, into Canada and back. It was a nice informative ride, but unfortunately mostly foggy, so a limited view. In Juneau we visited a salmon hatchery, where we enjoyed seeing thousands of young salmon. From there we visited Glacier Gardens, colorful and a nice ride through the Tongass Rainforest and a beautiful cafe and gift shop. Our last stop was at Mendenhall Glacier, which was beautiful and my favorite glacier, that we saw. In Ketchikan we took the Historical Walking tour with a local Tlingit guide. That was the best tour we had while on the cruise portion; it was very interesting and a good look into the local native culture. We also visited the Saxman Native Village in Ketchikan; we were disappointed that the native carver of totem poles wasn't there and the native dance was interrupted by lots of babies crying and noises behind the curtain; not very professional. There were some interesting totems to see.
As far as our guides and tour bus drivers, all were very good, giving us a lot of insight into the Alaskan life. Service on the cruise ship was mixed. Our cabin steward was very good, but some of the waiters in the dining areas didn't speak very good English and were almost rude. And some of those in sales situations were downright pushy and rude. We bought some metal pictures on the ship, and when we picked them up a couple days later, the person helping us didn't seem to know they were supposed to be individually wrapped and have hangers with them. We talked to others that had the same problem.
There were 3 jewelry shops, a cologne shop, a miscellaneous shop with some clothing and a travel shop onboard. It would have been nice, since it was an Alaskan cruise, to have had more nice Alaskan merchandise.
Although there were good things on the cruise, mainly the scenery and wildlife, because of the exposure to the flu and the pushiness of sales, it really dampened our spirits about the cruise ship and we won't likely cruise again!
Our cabin was the most positive thing on the cruise. Although it was in the back of the ship (aft), and I suffer from motion sickness so not the best location for me, it was still a pleasant surprise. It was roomy enough, our bed was king-size, and there was lots of storage for our luggage and clothing. Our balcony was double the size of some of the other decks; we had a nice covered area plus an equal amount of space in the open air. We were on the 10th deck, the Caribe deck. Our cabin steward, Danny, took good care of us and was pleasant all the time.
It was foggy, but our driver was very informative and took us into British Columbia to Frazier. It was beautiful there and smelled like one big Christmas tree. We also visited Soapy Smith's grave and an overlook of Skagway, which was very nice.View All 23 Historical Tour Reviews
We enjoyed the Salmon Hatchery and seeing all the baby salmon. Glacier Gardens was a beautiful sample of the rainforest and what an individual did with wasted land. The highlight was Mendenhall Glacier, beautiful and worth seeing.View All 57 Best of Juneau Reviews
Our guide, a Tlingit man, was extremely informative and authentic. His narrative and knowledge made for one of our favorite tours.View All 64 City Tour Reviews
This tour was a little over-rated. We were supposed to see carving of a totem pole, but the carver wasn't there and we got two young men trying to be cute, really not showing us anything. The dancing was disturbed by babies crying and constant noise behind the stage. There was some value in seeing the totems and the explanations of their meanings, but it was very amateur and not really worth what we paid.View All 109 Saxman Native Village Reviews